Strawberry season is here in Kentucky. 

Sweet sweet June bearing strawberries came a little early in Northern Kentucky.  I grow them in the city, in my back yard.  The patch is about 5×8 and my berries are abundant. 



I had been on vacation or I would have picked them sooner.  These babies were ripe, some within hours of being yuck.  So I washed them, added them to a pan, sprinkled about a half cup of sugar on them, smashed them with a potato smasher and brought to a boil.  I reduced the heat and let it simmer for about 30 minutes,  I let it cool and jarred it for later.  


Mmmmmmm nom nom, I could eat this with a spoon.

I found a fabulous recipe for shortcakes here.  I used her shortcake recipe and modified it a tad,  I used regular milk because it didn’t have whole and added a tsp of vanilla.

http://chefinyou.com/2012/07/strawberry-shortcake/



Seriously. Yummy. 🍓  


Appropriately on my mothers strawberry plates.  

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Perfect peach bundt cake 


Nothing like a disaster recipe becoming the beginning of a perfectly new created one.  I was trolling Pinterest for a peach cake recipe. I found one that looked simple enough but I didn’t read far enough down to see that it was either a big mistake or just a fraud.   It left out some essential ingredients… Like eggs, a liquid and a fat.  I was so trigger happy to make a cake I started my kitchenaid all aflurry before I realized I would have to create it from scratch.  I already had half of a cake started! 

The key is to always use quality ingredients.  I use a lot of simple truth products.  Organic is just better. 
SIMPLE SYRUP SOAKED PEACH BUNDT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE BUTTER FROSTING 

Cake:

3 1/2 cups of cake flour

2 cups granulated sugar

2 heaping tbsp brown sugar

1 can of quality peaches (use organic if possible) RESERVE THE JUICE 

3/4 cup oil (canola is fine but I used sweet almond oil)

3 large eggs

1/2 tsp Cinnamon 

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp baking powder 

3/4 cup milk 

1 tsp vanilla 

1/2 tsp salt 

Mash the peaches,  I used a potato masher and put a colander over a bowl and mashed so that I would get more juice.  

Add peaches to bowl. Add flour, sugars, eggs, oil, milk, 1/2 cup of the reserved juice, spices, salt and baking powder and vanilla.   I had a thin batter but it works.  

Pour into very greased BUNDT pan and bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes until knife comes out clean. Let cool. 

Peach simple syrup:

Reserved peach juice

Granulated sugar

While the cake is baking……Using the rest of the juice, make a syrup.  It’s hard to tell you how to do this. I didn’t really measure.  It’s a 2:1 kind of ratio.  I added about a cup of sugar to the remaining syrup in a sauce pan.  I boiled it, whisked it for a while and then lowered the heat and let it just do its thing.  If you have never made simple syrup, read about it on the net and you will see that it’s not too hard.   Take it off the heat and let it sit. Once the cake has cooled, still in the BUNDT pan, ladle the syrup onto the cake and let it soak in.  In some of my pictures below, you can see drops and smudges of the beautiful syrup.  

Now for the frosting. ….

1 8oz bar cream cheese

1/2 stick butter

Vanilla

Powdered sugar

With a mixer using the paddle attachment (or use electric mixer), add I bar of cream cheese, 1/2 stick of butter, a splash of vanilla and two cups of powdered sugar.  Mix until glossy and smooth 

Invert cake onto plate.  Plop on the icing and smooth it around as you should.  
Delicious, moist, decadent …..



I made something French

I can’t just take chips and dips to a party or celebration. No…. I’m the girl that has to make everything homemade and show off my skills. I tell myself that I am promoting healthy eating…. But I’m just gloating. I like to be the girl that shows up with a galette and place it beautifully next to the blue iced chain store cake. Yeah.. That my beauty right thur

I looked up galette crusts on Pinterest and found several. Most have a combination of flour and corn meal. Not really sure why. But I went with it. Just find one that meets the stuff you already have in your pantry. I used this one.

I used 2 cans of peaches, drained, and added 1/2 cup each of brown and white sugar a teaspoon if cinnamon and a 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg. Roll out your crust thin and arrange the fruit mix in the center. Fold the flaps over. With the extra dough I made leaves and rosettes. Brush with egg white . Bake until it starts to get golden on top.

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Hope you had a happy 4th if July!

Mulberry jam

Mulberries are everywhere in northern Kentucky and are ripe for harvest. The purple berries are falling all over town, on cars, sidewalks, sticking to the bottoms of my shoes and worse…. Being shat out by all the birds. Blue bird pooh….. Everywhere.

Unlike the song, mulberries grow on trees, not bushes. They are edible. Some varieties are white, but that is just weird to me. I wonder what whit jam would look like. Maybe some day ill give it a whirl.

With my granddaughters pink sandbox bucket in hand, I went hunting and foraging around town. Instead of looking up as I drove, I kept my eyes, down, looking for the purple mess beneath the tree I was searching. It is important to beat the birds to the berries. Although tempting, I wouldn’t recommend picking them up off the ground. The branches are high. I put a large cloth on the ground and then with a long stick, I hit the branches, causing the berries to drop. I’m sure there is a more graceful method that involves ladders and pretty buckets. I am sure that method would require me to wear a kerchief and matching smock of some sort. I used what I had, an old piece of material I would never make into something, a stick and a pink sandbox bucket. That’s about as graceful as I get.

Despite the odd glances from passers, I collected berries until my bucket was half full and it was time for me to get ready for a bbq party with my husband (Who finds this foraging of mine amusing but in a “oh there she goes being weird again” kinda way). My fingers were stained blue, a lovely touch when shaking hands with strangers.

Anyway, here is my fruitful foraging booty.

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I soaked them in water and then gently put them in the colander instead running water on them. The ripe berries are fragile, bursting with juicy goodness.

Then then fun part begins…. Snipping off the little green stems.

I placed the stemless berries in a heavy sauce pan. About 2 cups.

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I added 3/4 cup organic sugar

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I cooked them on medium heat, stirring frequently and then smashing with a potato smasher while they stewed.

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Once it was cooked down and thick, I let it cool a bit before placing in a small jar. This was for storage for immediate use, not canning or preserving although that could be easily done if you follow directions for canning and preserving.

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I kept some it for a nice spring salad if homegrown lettuce, strawberries and mulberries. Add almonds for a nice crunch.

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Organic hair dye

Let us talk healthy practices for covering grey.

Well I am sitting at 45.. half way to 50. I am not only concerned about what I put into my body but also with what I put ON my body. No more body washes, smelly soaps and lotions. But I do not have to be without good skin care and spa treatments. It is quite affordable to do these things at home. Bathe in Epsom salts, baking soda and a little oil.. very nice. Use sugar and olive oil on your legs before shaving.. smooooothe… There are plenty of ways to pamper yourself and be healthy without all the harsh chemicals.

My hair has recently become an issue for me. It has been thinning a little and I have had a LOT of breakage. Boo Hoo!!! I went through a very stressful time in my life which may have caused the hair issue (my health is good so that wasn’t an issue) Plus, the doctors looked at me like I was nuts when I complained about my hair. I guess until I am bald, they are not concerned.

In the last few years I decided to Blond my hair around my face. That’s when the damage began. I have permed, straightened, dyed, highlighted, curled, scorched and just plain misused and abused. I was using grocery store boxed hair dye. It didn’t matter the brand, it was chemical ammoniafied hair dye. My hair isn’t horrible, I am Grandmother for goodness sake but my once thick and shiny locks are not what they used to be.

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Yep, me in 1985. Prom. Oh what a night.. Enough reminiscing for now.

I am SHAMPOO FREE

So back to the damaging of my hair. I started to notice that my bangs were breaking off. I wasn’t cutting them but they were starting to fall just above my eyebrow line. I stopped using commercial shampoo in March 2012. I have dry hair so i used an conditioner daily, I played around with different brands before settling on John Frieda Root Awakening. It gives me some body.

About every other day or so, I put a tablespoon or so of baking soda into a cup of water while i am showering and pour it into may hair. I work it around a little and rinse. It helps get rid of the build up. Recently I have been experimenting with this shampoo. I use it once a week and it seems to work well too. It is sulfate free. Organix product.

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I have been browsing through http://pinterest.com/ and have found lots of good suggestions. I have slathered my hair in coconut, olive and argan oils and egg. I have slept with these concoctions on my head because I have an awesome understanding husband. I tried everything and the hair kept breaking and greying.

So what to do about grey hair when 1- I don’t want to be grey and 2- I don’t want to use the harmful chemicals of hair dye. Well I had to say adios to the blonde highlights and try something new. Sorry ladies, I don’t know of any good stories about do it yourself blonde organic hair dye.

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This was early on. I had just started highlighting around my face.. the bangs are still long and healthy. It didn’t take long though.

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I really like the blonde but the damage was brutal.

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I was going to dye my hair with turmeric… YIKES! got scared, changed my mind.

I bought some henna and tested it on my hair. It’s still red in that spot but more like a carrot orange. If you like that copper red, I highly recommend using regular henna powder to dye your hair.

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You can get this lovely shade of red. I’m not quite there yet, maybe over the summer but not just yet. I needed something toned down a bit.

COVER EVERYTHING IN NEWSPAPER
Wear something old.
You will need a bowl, something to mix it with, gloves, saran wrap and an old scarf or bandanna.

I went to JagDeeps Indian Grocery store on Ludlow Avenue in Cincinnati and purchased this. If they had a web site, i would have given them a plug here. I paid 3.99 for this. That is not a misprint or typo. 3.99!!! amazing. This box should last a month or so depending on your hair length. Only mix enough to cover your hair.

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It comes in a powder. It’s quite explosive like powdered sugar so be sure to be gentle when pouring it out of the envelope, mixing it or moving it around. I suggest you put down newspaper. Use a glass bowl to mix it in or a disposable plastic container. USE GLOVES or your hands and nails will be a lovely shade of brown.

This is what it looks like dry

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The box calls for mixing the powder with water. I did that at first but got a better idea. If i have to wear this stuff for 2-4 hours, I am going to give myself a lovely spa treatment whilst doing so.

I mix the powder with 1 egg and melted liquefied virgin coconut oil. Mix into a paste that is consistent with baby poo.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t smell like poo. It’s earthy, mossy, grassy… hippie cool man.

This is what it looks like wet

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Here is where I add about a tsp of pure henna so that there is a reddish tint to the brown. That is completely up to you. I am just trying to use up something i previously purchased.

Put on your gloves and start slathering. Start at your roots and work it through. This stuff is thick, not like conventional hair dye. Work it through your crown and down the length. Be sure to get it around your face if you tend to grey there quickly. Here is what this looks like.

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BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!

okay now wrap your head in saran wrap. Please do not suffocate yourself. Wrap up all the hair and clip into place. Put a scarf or bandanna over it to look stylish as you baste in your protein rich, oil infused DIY spa treatment. If you want to get really fancy, put a hot towel on your head and let your scalp and hair soak up all the goodness.

Even with the Saran wrap on your head, this dye poo will start to dry out a little and even harden in some places. No worries, that’s normal. Leave on your hair and check every hour until you are satisfied with the results. I typically leave it on for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Clean it off your skin best you can or else you will have some staining.

When it is time to rinse off, its best to use some sort of sprayer. I have rinsed this off in the shower but that usually results in a full shower and bath scrub down following. If you have a laundry tub or a kitchen sink sprayer, it’s best to rinse there. The rinse water will be a brown to khaki green color. That’s normal too.

The mud might want to stay on your scalp, following the rinse, take a good conditioner and work it with your finger tips down to your scalp. Shower it out or rinse it out again. You will more than likely see some more mud come out. Again, normal.

If you are interested in being healthy and want a very inexpensive and chemical free way to cover your grey, I highly recommend this technique. If you have the time and patience, this is for you. It’s worth it in the end.

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Please ignore the goofy look on my face and outdated style. Do you see any grey? I do not.
VOILA! hair that is healthy, shiny and not so grey!

This technique combined with a hair, skin an nail vitamin containing biotin….I am back on the road of hair recovery.

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!!!!!!!! once you start dying with henna, you cannot go back to commercial dyes until it has grown up.!!!!